“Midway” by Meno

“Midway” is the story of a little outcast named Junior who has quite the favorite pastime: he steals suitcases at the local airport. Junior currently owns over eighteen stolen suitcases. And the reason why he does this shocked me the first time I read it: he likes to see happy people coming together and smiling and laughing after they get off the airplanes. We find out later that this boy whom we thought was a thief is really just a lonely boy with a desire for happiness in his life. The reason why he acts up so much has a lot to do with his past personal life.

Junior lives with his older brother, Luis, in a one-room apartment in Chicago. The boys are learning to adjust to life on their own; they’ve been orphaned. One day, completely out of the blue, their father abandoned them and their mother while they were parked at a stoplight; Luis and Junior were eight and five years old, respectively. His final words to his family were “I’m sorry. I can’t do this anymore” and with that, he stepped out of the car and was gone forever. Their mother abandoned them as well; the reason why she did it was mostly because of Junior. She snapped one day while she and Junior were arguing about raising Junior’s curfew. In the end, a Virgin Mary statue was beheaded in the confrontation. The next afternoon, their drawers were laying out on the front lawn. Mom had officially kicked them out of the house.

Junior’s always been the troublemaker in everyone’s eyes. He steals, he lies, and he dresses and acts different than most kids his age. Junior is only a sophomore in high school and he is going through an emotional time. The idea of Junior catches my attention because I can sort of imagine where he is coming from. As someone who’s battled with depression and low self-esteem throughout my teenage years, I acknowledge his anti-socialness. Being a lonely person while surrounded by those you love can ruin your confidence; loved ones want to talk to you and support you, however you feel like you aren’t good enough for them. The mind forces you to experience the sudden urge to leave the social situation. You probably come off as a jerk to them, because they don’t know what it’s like. But I do.

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I like the way that the story is told from Luis’ point of view because it makes sure that we see Junior’s behavior through a blurred lens. We don’t know what he is thinking in his head, just like a real-life outcast, so it leaves room to interpret his actions. Why does he act out? Why does he steal? We don’t find out until he outright tells us. That’s the aspect this story needed the most: obscurity. When we talk about a personal topic like shyness, We need obscurity if we really want to make a believable story. (Carlos Douglas Jr./CoS Student)

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